Tuesday, 14 February 2017 15:53

Another splash: Hough wins fourth state title

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Hough has won girls' swimming state titles in 2012, 2013, 2016 and, now, 2017. Hough has won girls' swimming state titles in 2012, 2013, 2016 and, now, 2017. Courtesy NCHSAA

Six years ago, a new high school in Cornelius finished fifth in its first state swim meet, despite not having a senior class, and it was apparent that Hough High would be a regular contender in the water.

Nothing has changed since.

The Hough girls won their fourth 4A state championship Saturday at Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, holding off runner-up Leesville Road 270-245. Depth once again paid off for Hough, which also won titles in 2012, 2013 and 2016 and finished second in 2014 and 2015.

“What a finish by the kids,” said Hough coach Tim Queen. “There were some great swims. Everyone had such huge hearts. All played a role, all were able to contribute.”

The lone win for the Hough girls came in diving, where Husky seniors Jenni Giacalone and Jocelyn Porter finished 1-2, flipping their results from last year’s state meet when Porter won.

Giacalone scored 474.40 to edge Porter by 5.05 points, and the duo earned 37 points toward the team total.

“Jocelyn and Jenni battled each other every week,” said Queen. “They pushed each other, and it really helped our team.”

Unlike last year, when the Lady Huskies won six events, Hough racked up second- and third-place finishes to get the job done. Heidi Lowe was second in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, and Lilly Higgs was second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 individual medley. Hough was second in the 400 freestyle relay and third in both the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.

The state title is the 10th for Queen, who led Shelby’s teams to five and North Meck to one. He is retiring at the end of the school year and plans to expand his real estate business ... and his reading time.

“I’m just proud that I get to drive the bus, and I try not to screw up the lineup,” said Queen of his team’s talent. “I’m just reaping the benefits of all the great (year-round) coaches in the county.”

The Hough boys tied their best-ever state finish by taking second for the fourth time.

The Huskies won three events, including the 200 medley relay (1:33.14). Alex McMurry earned his first individual state title in the 100 backstroke (50.16), while Will Chan won the 100 breaststroke with a state record time of 54.47 and finished second in the 200 I.M. Hough was second in the 400 free relay, and diver Logan Andrews took third.

South Meck, which Hough beat at regionals, won with 279 points to Hough’s 208.

“The guys did all they could do,” said Queen. “We didn’t have any answer for their depth.”

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